Steven Johnson in late April said cooler-than-normal temperatures caused the small delay.
Though central Florida harvesting overlapped a little with south Georgia’s start, Johnson said Georgia growers last spring experienced a fairly strong squash deal.
He characterized last fall’s deal as sufficient with growers receiving a return on their investments.
Lower supplies from Florida have brought higher-than-normal prices.
Because of the cold weather that struck Florida during January and February, Florida volume has been scarce.
In late April, Lytch quoted $20.35-20.85 for 1 1/9-bushel cartons of eggplant from south Florida.
The USDA in late April reported the same price from south Florida with fair quality going for $14.35-16.85.
“Florida is very late,” Lytch said in late April. “Their eggplant was very slow to recover from the cold. However, I don’t think there will be any problem with the transition to Georgia this year. As delayed as everything is in south Florida, we should see pretty stable supplies once we do get started. We will carry on until we get to south Georgia. We will just have smaller volumes from Florida.”
L&M, which grows and packs eggplant from south Florida and Georgia, expects to begin its south Georgia volume in early June.
Georgia Vegetable’s Kennedy said most buyers have sourced supplies from Mexico or Honduras.
She quoted $20-25 in early to mid-April.
“There hasn’t been much product this year,” Kennedy said. “We had a good deal last spring.”
South Georgia Produce plans to begin its harvesting May 10-19.
“Eggs last fall were a good item for us,” said Steven Johnson. “Pricing was good. They weren’t $20, but more like $8-10 for much of the season. An $8 (price for) egg(plant) is something these guys will be happy about as long as the packout is good.”
Georgia’s eggplant harvesting normally runs through mid-July.
Freezing weather has harmed south Georgia’s winter and early spring production of greens.
The abnormally cold weather cut volume by 25%, said Georgia Vegetable’s Kennedy.
“Because of the bad weather we have had, growers were in a bad situation this season,” she said in mid-April. “There was quite a shortage on greens.”
Normally, south Georgia ships collards, kale, mustard greens and turnip tops from early October through the end of May.
Kennedy said she expects her growers to ship through the end of May but ship smaller volumes.
She said the cold burned tips, yellowed leaves and shocked the plants by bringing freezing temperatures the day after favorable temperatures and have made for production of good to fair quality greens.
“The greens haven’t been the best this season,” she said.
Despite the production cuts and quality concerns, prices, Kennedy said, have remained normal to steadily increasing.
Because of the expense of growing the crops, prices have been slowly increasing during the last two years, she said.